MIRROR, MIRROR – Marilyn Armstrong

The Most Beautiful of Them All?

I never — at any point in life — looked in the mirror imagining for a moment that I was the most beautiful of all. All what?

I knew I wasn’t the most beautiful anything. At my best, I was interesting, sometimes eye-catching. Frequently just different. I never looked like everyone else, except maybe all the other members of my family.

I remember going to my uncle’s funeral, looking around and seeing me, me, me, me. Everywhere. Some version of me. My cousins, aunts, parents. Everyone looked a lot or a little like me.

Now, I look in the mirror to see if I pass. Do I look truly hideous or just kind of old and tired?

I don’t look anything like I used to look. My face is a different shape. My hair is different. My eyes have sunk deeper into my skull.

Humans don’t always look the same, you know. We evolve. That’s how it’s possible to look exactly like your father when you are three, but exactly like your mother at 30 … and remarkably like your uncle at 50. It should be obvious if you stop and think about it. If we didn’t keep changing, we would be born with an old, adult face. Which you must admit, would look pretty strange.

I’ve now passed the point of looking like my mother. By the time my mother was my age, she was dying. Which I, apparently, am not. Garry no longer looks like his mother or his father, but some peculiar combination of both, depending on what look he has on his face.

I suppose I don’t know what to make of me anymore. At least other people still recognize me when they see me. That’s something, right?

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Opinionated writer with hopes for a better future for all plus a big helping of cynicism.

36 thoughts on “MIRROR, MIRROR – Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. I don’t think we look alike so much, two of my sister’s were blonde, another dark haired, also both of my brothers are dark, my mother had red hair and green eyes, and freckles, I have freckles, and reddish hair, but our features are different. We all lived together as kids, so they must be my blood relatives, right? We were all moved around after my mother died, didn’t have a choice. We are family, doesn’t really matter, they say you end up looking like the people you spend your time with. Maybe we do? I want to post some pictures for your opinions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had long, curly red hair as a baby and tot. I’m told they used to braid my hair. I don’t remember that. I’ve always had a thing for red heads.


    2. I have a mole (birth mark) on my face. Actually, I have two. The second one may be a growth which bothers me. I wasn’t a mole fan. Now, I see many people get moles because it’s an “in” thing.


  2. I think your comment about Garry looking like a different parent depending in his facial expression pretty much sums up our family, especially my son. Smiling, he’s the image of his dad, otherwise it’s like having my (irritating) brother in the room. Maybe as he ages, he’ll look more like my nice brother 😀

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    1. It’s actually a bit eerie how kids — and grownups — change as they age. It’s not only eerie to me and others watching, it’s eerie watching ME change. Ten years ago I looked SO much like my mother, you would have thought we were clones, but now, I look like an odd combination of both of them with more than a little of my brother. Whereas Garry who always was a dead ringer for his mom, suddenly looks like his father. He sure ACTS like his father!

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      1. You’re right. T always looked like his mum, but is increasingly a clone of his great grandfather. So much so that I superimposed a photo of one on the other, and T was genuinely confused because he didn’t recognise the shirt 😂


    2. Su, I looked at some of the pics Marilyn was considering for this piece. One of them is Dad–in later years. same “smile” and same receding hair line. Dad, in his prime — was killer handsome. My dates would swoon when they met him and then look at me curiously.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Su, One of my dates — someone who is still a friend — cornered me after meeting my Dad and said, “Your Dad is so handsome. What happened to you?” She was smiling.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. It IS something indeed. I’ve gone further to the ‘mom’ side of my family, am a clone in many ways of her (visually speaking). We discussed this on a recent post I did, and I’m glad to see further edification of your viewpoint! 🙂


    1. Emb, I’m a combo of both sides of the family. I have Mom’s gift for gab and Dad’s gift for stonewall silence. Not sure that’s a gift.


    1. It can also get a little bit spooky at a group event where EVERYONE looks a little bit like you! That’s one of the things about being Jewish from central Europe — it was a very small group of people and many of us married cousins. We couldn’t “marry out,” so we married in and after a while, we all started to look alike — even those to whom we didn’t know we were related.

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  4. It is interesting how our appearance evolves and we resemble different family members at different times, and as you noted with Garry, different expressions. And one of the things I learned early on in my medical training–when you had an unusual looking baby, before getting concerned that there might be a problem, look at the parents. Many FLKs (funny looking kids, its an actual medical term) turn out to look a lot like their folks.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. My son managed to look just like HIS father and ME and we looked NOTHING alike at all. It’s all about skull shape and eye sockets and noses and chins and the combinations of all of these things, not to mention body shape. It’s one of the fun parts of watching children grow up.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. I love this post, Marilyn. You remind me of something I said to my daughter once. She had an opportunity to study in Cuba, and I told her she must take a train to a little town called Guanajay, where every single person would look exactly like her. As a baby, she looked like my mother and me; she eventually developed my sister-in-law’s body, and grew my mother-in-law’s nose. My son started out looking exactly like my mother-in-law; in his teens, he started to look like me, and now, he has a face I’ve never seen on anyone… but I like it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know just what you mean. My son was a literal exact match for his dad as a toddler, then suddenly, he looked exactly like me … but NOW he looks much more like my brother, but occasionally, he posts a picture on FB and I wonder why he is posting pictures of his father. We do go through fascinating changes along life’s line!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I’m a frequent mirror watcher. It’s what you do when you’re a vain ham. I used to do monologues as a fantasized subsitute for Johnny Carson (DeNiro stole my bit in “The King of Comedy”). These days, I look in the mirror but the reflection doesn’t register.


    1. That was as close to a family reunion as I remember — other than weddings and eventually funerals. I think my mother organized getting everyone who was fit to travel to come to the same summer place for a week. There was family EVERYWHERE. It was kind of funny.

      Liked by 2 people

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